Numerous species of conifers record the occurrence of forest fires. A fire may be recorded as a lesion in an annual ring when living cambium, usually on the margins of a catface, is injuring by the heat of the fire. Over time multiple injuries (fire scars) can occur.
Using dendrochronological crossdating methods actual calander dates can be assigned to each fire scar. These methods also mean that samples from trees dead for many decades (or centuries) can be utilized so that few living trees need to be sampled.
The dates on this ponderosa pine cross-section indicate fire scars that are recorded in the tree's annual growth rings. Reconstructions of fire regimes using this proxy data source can provide valuable information to managers and ecologists on the frequency and season of past fires. © Photo by Anthony Caprio.